Protecting Senior Skin from Dry Winter Conditions

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posted by Ted Ryan on February 15, 2016

When we think about winter care for seniors, we often talk of preventing falls on ice and hypothermia, but sometimes forget about an issue that takes place both indoors and out – skin care.

Cold weather and winds take a toll on the skin’s moisture, causing itching, cracking and bleeding. The toasty air keeping us warm in our homes and living facilities also sucks moisture from the air and contributes to drying out skin.

Over time, skin becomes thinner, drier and more fragile, making seniors particularly susceptible to skin issues. Winter weather can also worsen common senior skin issues such as shingles and bruising, making them more prone to itchy skin and rashes.

Consider the following tips to help you and your elderly loved ones avoid dry skin.

  • Moisturize. Using lotion often is the best way to protect skin. It’s especially effective after bathing, when skin is most absorbent. Seniors may require a heavier cream or ointment but should check the ingredients for allergens. Remember to use lip balm to avoid dry lips.
  • Hydrate. Drinking lots of water isn’t just important in the summer. It helps keep senior’s cells moisturized from the inside.
  • Bundle up. When going outdoors, cover as much skin as possible. Fingers and toes are especially susceptible to frostbite and windburn.
  • Short and warm (not hot) showers. Too much time in hot water can sap natural moisture from the skin.
  • Humidify. A humidifier adds moisture to dry, artificially-heated air.
  • Sunscreen. Sunscreen is just as important on clear winter days as it is in the summer, especially if there is snow on the ground to reflect the sun’s rays.

Seniors may need special care to alleviate skin issues from the harsh winter. See a dermatologist if a skin condition becomes worse, doesn’t heal or you suspect another health issue may be present.

Caregivers from Seniors Home Care can provide skin care for seniors needing assistance and monitor skin condition for any potential concerns. Please contact us to learn more about the many ways that an SHC caregiver could help you or a loved one maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.

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